iPhone eventSource: Apple

What you need to know

  • Apple has told employees it acknowledges misunderstandings over its new child protection measures.
  • It told employees that changes including scanning iCloud photos were part of an "important mission" to protect children.
  • Apple's recently-announced measures have been met with some backlash.

Apple has told employees in an internal memo that it acknowledges some of the misunderstandings regarding its recently-announced child protection measures, which have been met with some backlash and confusion.

9to5Mac reports that Apple's Software VP Sebastien Marineau-Mes told employees late Thursday that the move was part of an important mission to keep children safe. The full memo states:

Today marks the official public unveiling of Expanded Protections for Children, and I wanted to take a moment to thank each and every one of you for all of your hard work over the last few years. We would not have reached this milestone without your tireless dedication and resiliency.

Keeping children safe is such an important mission. In true Apple fashion, pursuing this goal has required deep cross-functional commitment, spanning Engineering, GA, HI, Legal, Product Marketing and PR. What we announced today is the product of this incredible collaboration, one that delivers tools to protect children, but also maintain Apple's deep commitment to user privacy.

We've seen many positive responses today. We know some people have misunderstandings, and more than a few are worried about the implications, but we will continue to explain and detail the features so people understand what we've built. And while a lot of hard work lays ahead to deliver the features in the next few months, I wanted to share this note that we received today from NCMEC. I found it incredibly motivating, and hope that you will as well.

I am proud to work at Apple with such an amazing team. Thank you!

A message from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children was also disseminated to the team at Apple who had worked on these features that read "during these long days and sleepless nights, I hope you take solace in knowing that because of you many thousands of sexually exploited victimized children will be rescued, and will get a chance at healing and the childhood they deserve." It also noted that the days to come "will be filled with the screeching voices of the minority", possibly referencing backlash and objections raised over the issue.

Apple's plans to scan photos on U.S. iPhones uploaded to iCloud Photos has been met with pushback from security experts and privacy advocates including Edward Snowden.